(Verses quoted are from Genesis -- King James' Version -- unless otherwise noted.)

The Joseph Theory

3.     Writing Genesis

"There is a definite writing style in Genesis"

There is a definite writing style being used in Genesis.
It is...   "the putting in of something that is out-of-place."
In fact, we are actually told that Joseph does this...
and are told that it is done on purpose...
and that it was done with Jacob's blessing and permission.

The clue is this:
On the one hand, Joseph refers to God as his source of dream interpretations...

40:8 -- "Do not interpretations belong to God?"
41:16 -- "It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace."

And on the other hand, it is a divining cup that he hides in the luggage of his beloved full-brother, Benjamin... then sends his servants to arrest him.

44:5 -- "Is not this it in which my lord drinketh, and whereby indeed he divineth? ye have done evil in so doing."

Joseph did not use a divining cup.
So why this story of a hidden divining cup?

This story of a "divining cup" is deliberately put "out of place" in Joseph's story, just as it was put out of place in Benjamin's luggage. The object used to secure the arrest of Benjamin is a "divining" cup solely to let the reader know to look for something that is out of place... because Joseph is speaking to us (divining to us) through it. There are many instances of "things that are out of place" in the stories of Genesis. These will be explored in other chapters.

However, one example of this:
Joseph speaks of two dreams he had when he was 17.

37:7 -- "For behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf."

37:9 -- "Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me." then... "his father rebuked him, and said unto him, 'What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth? His brethren envied him, but his father observed the saying."

Pharaoh also had two dreams... similar to each other.
When Joseph interpreted them for him, he said,

41:25 -- "The dream of Pharaoh is one: God hath shewed Pharaoh what he is about to do"

41:32 -- "And for that the dream was doubled unto Pharaoh twice; it is because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass."

It appears to be obvious that both of Joseph's dreams foretell a time when the brothers... and his father and mother... would show obeisance to him when they came to Egypt during the long drought. However, rather than an immediate fulfillment, such as the one with Pharaoh... it would be 22 years for these dreams to be fulfilled. Also... Joseph's mother Rachel was dead. How could she show obeisance to him when she was dead?

Because of the coincidence of two recurring dreams for both Joseph and Pharaoh... because of what this was supposed to mean... we are being compelled to look more closely at what might only seem to be the obvious fulfillment of prophetic dreams. We are being compelled to look for something hidden. In Joseph's case... the two dreams were separate events... not double.

Sheaves are a common source of grain... food... for which people labor in the fields to obtain. Joseph would save the lives of his brothers with Egypt's grain... and they would be grateful... and they would be at his mercy (per the dream of the sheaves).

However, the sun, moon, and the eleven stars (referring surely to the planets) are set in the heavens into perpetuity... different altogether. In fact, we are told at the very beginning of these scriptures in Genesis: (perhaps also written by Joseph with Jacob's permission)

"And God said, 'Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so."

"And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day."

If the dream of the sun, moon, and stars meant what Jacob thought that it meant... that it foretold that... not only would the brothers show obeisance to Joseph, but, now... also he and Joseph's mother... then they were all being given high distinction by being described in such "heavenly" terms. And yet, even with such high distinction, they would still show obeisance to Joseph.

There is no story in Genesis telling of any special distinction of his brothers. They did not obtain fame or power in Egypt. In fact, the stories of their lives are mostly unpleasant... even criminal... and nothing is heard of them after Jacob's death except a reference to their continuing fear of Joseph's revenge on them for what they had all done.

And so... what could be the fulfillment of Joseph's second prophetic dream?
It is only when Moses enters the picture that Joseph's brothers finally attain a status of distinction... in the formation of the nation of Israel. Their names would be established forever.

But... how then, would they ever show obeisance to Joseph now?
The answer might well be... that... all the tribes of Israel would be used to preserve the legacy that once had nearly been lost. And that... Joseph had established the process by which the Israelites would return to Canaan to fulfill God's promise to Abraham.

For many years, Jacob must have grieved that he would be the end of the legacy of his ancestors. He had barely freed himself from servitude to Laban. Then he became horribly aware of the violence of his sons. Then Joseph... his only suitable inheritor... the son of his love... was taken from him. The passing along of the legacy would not be an easy thing to manage. He had never named a replacement inheritor to his beloved Joseph.

47:9 --   Jacob told Pharaoh, "The days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years: few and evil have the days of the years of my life been, and have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage."

Jacob was obviously down-hearted... even after seeing Joseph in such a grand position in life. But... Jacob had just removed his entire tribe out of Canaan. The legacy of Abraham was farther away than ever. And yet, years later on his deathbed, Jacob expresses a sense of joy and hope.

It is the continuation of the legacy that Jacob is referring to in his last blessing to Joseph. We have clues that Jacob knew what Joseph was going to do to preserve the legacy. Joseph was going to establish the nation of Israel... and give them a religion.

45:7-11 -- Joseph told his brothers -- "And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance... lest you and your household, and all that you have, come to poverty."

48:20 -- (Jacob is speaking to Joseph's sons), "And he blessed them that day, saying, 'In thee shall Israel bless, saying, God make thee as Ephraim and Manasseh: and he set Ephraim before Manasseh."

The following verses are Jacob's last blessing to Joseph...
making him head of the tribe.
(with notations)

"Joseph is a fruitful bough by the well of a spring         --- (an enterprising character within a wealthy estate)
whose branches run over the wall.         --- (an inheritance of his own)
The archers have sorely grieved him,         --- (taken aim against him)
and shot at him, and hated him,         --- (acted out of their hatred)
but his bow abode in strength,         --- (he did not take revenge)
and the arms of his hands were made strong         --- (he knew with surety what he was to do)
by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob;         --- (what God had revealed to him to do)
from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel;         --- (which he related to his leader, the decider, Israel)
Even by the God of thy father, who shall help you;         --- (for imperical advice and approval, which is given)
and by the Almighty, who shall bless you         --- (and for wisdom, which is given)
with the blessings of heaven above,
blessings of the deep that lieth under,         --- (absolute freedom to do this thing)
blessings of the breasts and of the womb;"         --- (offspring of Jacob living and to come)

"The blessings of your father have prevailed
above the blessings of my progenitors
unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills:
they shall be on the head of Joseph,
and on the crown of the head of him
that was separate from his brethren."

That... "the blessings of Jacob were greater than his forefathers unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills" could surely mean that his name would be remembered forever. After all... such is exactly the case. It is Jacob's (or Israel's) name that the descendents of Abraham would bear. The name of Israel would be remembered forever.

Jacob was saying that he knew how the future would be, and he had given permission and advice to Joseph to do it. When he put on the crown of clan chief, Joseph would ensure the preservation of the legacy.

Joseph... had already been named inheritor when he was 17. Jacob also named the future inheritor... Ephraim, Joseph's second-born son. After Jacob died, Joseph would become clan chief, and he would remain clan chief as long as he lived. Ephraim was to follow him. This is why Joseph's brothers had a renewed concern about revenge from Joseph after Jacob died. Joseph was now king and judge of the clan.

Both Jacob and Joseph knew well... what jealousy for the inheritance of a vast estate and power might cause.
They had both learned in a hard way that it meant living in danger.
They both knew well... that in order for the family legacy to be passed on... survival was everything.

Chapter 4.   The Family of Jacob


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